Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco is directing federal prosecutors across the U.S. to work toward promoting safety for Native Americans living on reservations, The Wall Street Journal reports. Native Americans are twice as likely to experience violence than is the average American. Monaco told prosecutors to focus on women and children, who are often domestic violence and homicide victims. This instruction comes after the Supreme Court restored power to Oklahoma to charge crimes on tribal reservations last month. In 2020, one high court case, McGirt v. Oklahoma, recognized half of the state as federal land. The Justice Department was then overwhelmed by criminal cases from Native American reservations.
According to the Justice Department, Native American women are murdered at a rate 10 times the national average. Homicide is the third-leading cause of death among Native American and Alaska Native women between ages 10 and 24. Monaco told prosecutors to focus on victims by completing forensic exams on sexual assault and domestic violence cases and finding ways to address drug trafficking and substance abuse. She also instructed officers to complete “cultural competency training” so that they are better able to understand the culture and customs of Native American communities. There are 570 recognized Native American and Alaskan Native tribes in the U.S.